The Honourable Jason Kenney, PC, MP
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defends the transformation of Canada’s immigration system
By Andy Radia | Canada Politics – Sun, 23 Sep, 2012

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney during Question Period. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
‘Jason Kenney has been the most active immigration minister in recent history.’

That’s a statement that even his opposition critics won’t contradict.

Since the Conservatives won their majority in May 2011, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism has embarked upon a strategic and systematic transformation of Canada’s immigration system.

He has announced moratoriums or suspensions of the immigrant investor program, federal entrepreneur program, federal skill worker program and immigration applications from parents and grandparents. He’s replaced those programs with others which, he hopes, will lead to quicker processing times and greater economic prosperity for newcomers while filling our domestic labour gaps.

His department has also put a greater emphasis on immigrants speaking either English or French: in 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) overhauled the citizenship test, requiring a higher score to pass and a higher language proficiency. More recently, the department proposed a revamp of the immigration point grid which will put more weight on a prospective immigrant’s age and language ability.

And he’s cracked-down on fraudsters — boy has he cracked down on fraudsters.

Earlier this year, Kenney introduced a new regulatory body for immigration consultants that actually has some teeth to punish crooked-consultants. To the protest of doctors and refugee advocates, CIC has restricted refugee claimants’ health benefits and proposed tougher spousal sponsor rules in order to reduce marriage fraud. It is also now strictly enforcing residency requirements for permanent residents.

“[Fraud] has been a very significant problem,” Kenney told Yahoo! Canada News in a telephone interview last week.

“I wouldn’t over-state it…but unfortunately a significant minority have used crooked immigration agents overseas and in Canada to try to beat the system…We’ve seen a number of significant problems which were undermining public confidence in our immigration system.”

[ More Political Points: Consulate in Toronto forced to drop ‘diaspora tax’ ]

Critics argue that Kenney is merely using fraud as guise to push forward his changes. Liberal immigration critic Kevin Lamoureux has even called some of Kenney’s immigration bills “anti-immigrant.”

“I certainly do believe that the changes the Minister and the Conservative government have been implementing are unfair, unprecedented and, ultimately, harmful to Canada’s immigration system,” Lamoureux told Yahoo! Canada News in an email.

“There has always been a sense of compassion in Canada’s immigration system whether it’s refugee policies or family reunification.”

But Kenney insists that the fast pace of changes is necessary. And he says the public, especially immigrants already in Canada, support his government’s initiatives.

“Our system had been terribly mismanaged, to the point where we had over a million people waiting up to nine years for decisions on their immigration applications,” he says.

“We are moving towards a fast immigration system which will allow us to do [a] much better job of selecting people likely to succeed in Canada’s economy [and] likely to integrate quickly and successfully.”

In 2011, Canada accepted about 240,000 permanent residents and 8,000 refugees — numbers that are among the highest per-capita level in the developed world.

Kenney says that’s a level of immigration that he’d like to maintain in the years ahead.

“Most employers would like to see bigger [immigration] numbers but only about 10 or 15 per cent of Canadians want us to raise immigration levels,” he said.

“They’re already very high and our focus is on improving the outcome [and] the experience of immigrants before increasing the numbers.”

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Article posted in Immigration, Reform
  • Tybalt

    Some European immigration would be a nice change. I think we have our quota of south asians and africans by now.

    • ETC

      There are tons of European immigration. YOU just don’t think they are immigrants when you see them on the street. What an idiot

      • Hank

        Doesn’t matter, he’d still hate them anyways cause they talk funny.

    • Hank

      I think we should have emigration for all this white trash. If you don’t have an IQ over 90 you gotta go!! We can restock from Europe, obviously smart people only.

  • Canada1st

    There is no reason for mass immigration into Canada, the current corp of immigrants have very little to add to Canada, other than lower my living standards. Look at what has happen to the trucking industry, massive amount of accidents on our highways, try communicating with a truck driver if you have an issue with the freight onboard. Canada is losing it’s culture and identy. Harper is just a corporate schill, he has not interst in Canadian indenty.

    • Hank

      I used to work at a truck stop while paying for University. It has to be the whitest profession there is. Next to gun shop owner and race car driver that is

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